Good Afternoon Wilderness... This afternoon we will delve into some college hockey. This past week, it was announced the historic rivalry between UND and Minnesota would soon be taking the ice again. Yay!
GRAND FORKS, N.D. - The most prolific rivalry in college hockey returns during the 2016-17 season as the University of North Dakota and the University of Minnesota have agreed to terms on a two-year deal that will renew a rivalry dating back to 1930.
The Gophers will host North Dakota for a two-game series in 2016-17 at Mariucci Arena and then travel to Grand Forks for a road series in 2017-18. Dates for both series will be determined at a later time.
"This is a rivalry that our fans, alumni and team look forward to renewing," said UND head coach Dave Hakstol. "It is one of the most heated in all of college sports."
The two programs battled each year from 1948 to 2013 before conference realignment put the rivalry on a three-year hiatus. The most recent meeting between the two rivals was a 4-4 overtime tie on Jan. 19, 2013 at Mariucci Arena.
While some Minnesota Gopher fans would like us to believe that the UND vs. UMN rivalry isn't going to be as heated as it once was in 2016-17, or that some random Big Ten team will eventually replace UND as one of the Gophers heated rivals.
I say yeah, whatever makes you feel good.
These fans aren't taking into account the fact that North Dakota and Minnesota will probably meet in the NCAA playoffs before that time. That could take the rivalry up another notch as well.
This is what Golden Gopher head coach Don Lucia had to say about renewing the historic rivalry.
We're thrilled to officially get North Dakota back on our schedule and to renew one of the greatest rivalries in our sport," Minnesota head coach Don Lucia said. "This rivalry is great for our programs, great for college hockey and great for our fans, and we're excited to bring North Dakota back to Mariucci Arena."
This past summer, I interviewed Golden Gopher Great Pat Micheletti for another article that I wrote and from a historical point of view the North Dakota and Minnesota hockey series is a crazy series.
First time in- it was a crazy series - I am a freshman. In the old Ralph the locker rooms were right below the [student] bleachers. They let the students in early and I think they got in free at the time with their card. It only sat about 5500 or 6,000, or something like that. I got scared to death when they let them in. It was my first game there. When I heard those people, it was like a stampede going over our locker room. It was like, what are we in for? We swept the series by the way, which was great. But it was an intense, beautiful, atmosphere to play in. The one thing that I respected about North Dakota was the fact there was a lot of Minnesota and a lot of Canadian guys. But they played with an edge. They were out there to win. There was no hi, talk to you later. When you were on the ice, it was an intense as I ever played, ever. There was no bubby, buddy situation. But, you know half of those guys, guys like Jim Archibald, who was a teammate of mine later on in life, and James Patrick, and Gordon Sherven. You talk Scott Sandelin, who I grew up with. We hated each other when we were on the ice. But it was a healthy hatred."
Let me leave you with a few of my favorite moments in the UND vs. UMN rivalry. Oh course, they're going to be from a UND hockey fan's perspective, but oh well.
Third place game of the WCHA Final Five, Sioux vs. Gophers March 19, 2005 at Xcel Energy Center, UND forward Rastislav Spirko scores a shorthanded goal against Minnesota goalie Kellen Briggs. UND would go on to win the game 4-2 and claim third place. UND would meet Minnesota again on April 7, 2005 and win again 4-2 in the Semis of the NCAA Frozen Four.
ESPN’s Clay Matvick with the call, March 25th, 2007, West Regional UND vs. UMN at the Pepsi Center in Denver. UND's Chris Porter with a wrap around attempt, puts the puck through Jeff Frazee's giant five-hole to send UND to the Frozen Four. UND wins the game at the 09:43 mark of the first overtime.